Man watches the Red Deer River rise behind his house just outside Drumheller, Alta., Monday, June 20. (CP photo)

Some of the thousands of residents forced from their homes in Drumheller, Alta., by the threat of floods should be able to return to their homes on Tuesday evening.

Officials say they still need to ensure the emergency berms holding the Red Deer River at bay will hold before residents will be allowed to return home.

Drumheller's administrator, Ray Romanetz, says just in case, the town's emergency dike system is being continually reinforced. "Any evidence of seepage was quickly followed up with additional material brought in. With erosion on the water side we brought in rock to stabilize the bank."

Fire Chief Bill Bachynski says since the dikes are holding and the water levels are decreasing, the only problem is whether utilities can be turned back on.


Morrin Bridge truck crash, near Drumheller.

More than 3,000 of Drumheller's 8,000 residents left their homes when the waters of the Red Deer River began rising on Sunday. Emergency officials say at least 25 homes were flooded, but dikes kept water levels under control.

Terry Reebus was worn out from days of hauling sandbags and worrying whether his house would survive, but he was glad to find out only his basement was under water. "It's been very tiring. Lots of sandbagging, lots of distress and worry," he said.

The flooding across the province has led to the deaths of at least two people. Two men died in separate accidents in the Calgary area when their vehicles crashed into swollen rivers. A teenager who is believed to have been near a footbridge that was washed out is also missing.

Police are also blaming the death of another driver on the flood. They say the driver crashed trying to avoid people lined up on a bridge in Drumheller watching the flood.

Several other Alberta waterways also swelled with heavy rains and thousands have been forced out of their homes and lost belongings.

The amount of damage is still being estimated, but it's expected to be double the $100-million cost of the last big floods in 1995.